Siemens: We need to connect the physical world to the digital world

More than 70 per cent of the world’s electricity flows through the grid with the help of products from Siemens, and at Elfack they showcased everything from digital twins to SF6-free switchgear.

– It is only when we succeed in connecting the real world with the digital world that we can really unlock the full potential of the energy system and bring about a green transition, says Andreas Finnstedt, Country Manager for Siemens Smart Infrastructure in Sweden.

The Siemens booth was one of the largest at Elfack, but it also offered a lot to experience. At Elfack 2023, Siemens showcased everything from hardware for substations to software for digital twins, and even though it may seem like a wide range, Andreas Finnstedt believes that one of the most important challenges for the green transition is to weave all of this together into an interacting system.

– Take real estate companies as an example. In the past, they were mainly passive consumers of energy, but nowadays they can be producers of electricity through solar panels on the roof, they can have energy storage, they can contribute to the stability of the grid, in other words, they will be an important player in the grid in the future.

Digital twins part of the solution

For Siemens, the mission in this transformation is clear: to connect buildings, industry and energy systems using both hardware and software to unlock the potential that exists when these elements work together.

– At the same time, it is equally important to connect the real and the digital world. For example, the digital twins of relay protection that we show here at Elfack can save a lot of time in the planning, configuration and execution phase. Being able to simulate all the functions of the relay protection before going out to the physical installation saves not only time but also carbon dioxide emissions through fewer trips.

Industry gathers at Elfack to showcase the ecosystem of solutions

But even though Siemens is large and offers a wide range of products, they cannot manage the transition on their own.

– No one can, and that’s why it’s so important to be at an event like Elfack. As a company, our products and services form part of an ecosystem, and at Elfack we meet many customers and partners who are part of that ecosystem and can show them what is possible and enter dialogue with them.

One of the innovations that Siemens wants to show during Elfack is the possibility of planning both production and operations using real-time data via software for the electricity grid.

– Through our software, we can now offer real-time data both from our own grid, but also from open data sources in the outside world, says Johan Persson, power system analyst at Siemens.

– For example, our customers can now look at electric car charging data, both current and forecast, and combine it with grid data to plan future usage optimally.

SF6-free switchgear arouses great curiosity

Another relatively new product could be found deeper into the booth: Siemens’ BlueGIS switchgear, which, unlike previous switchgear series, is insulated without the extremely potent greenhouse gas SF6.
– Historically, switchgear has been insulated with SF6, but if it leaks out, it is about 25,000 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide, Andreas Finnstedt says.

– If we are going to electrify society to reduce warming it would be crazy to do this using products that contain components that will damage the climate if they are released. We don’t want to contribute to that.

New regulations are expected in the SF6 area before 2026, and at Elfack, salesperson Jonna Karlberg noticed a great deal of curiosity from customers about the SF6-free switchgear that Siemens exhibited.

– It is a hot topic, and many people want to know how far we have come and what we will offer in the future.

Elfack will return in its full size on 6-9 May 2025, but Update by Elfack will already premiere next year, on 22-23 May 2024. The new event offers the entire electricity and energy industry a chance to get updated in the intervening years, focusing on the latest technology, knowledge and skills development. There will be a small exhibition as well as several stages and a conference programme in collaboration with industry players.

You are welcome to read more about Update by Elfack.